A few weeks ago, I deleted Twitter from my phone and tablet. This has been a long time coming, and the reasons I chose to do this are obvious, so I’m not here to write an essay on why I did it. Instead, I’m here to offer some advice if, like me, you used to rely on Twitter to stay up to date on news and events and don’t want to use Twitter to do so anymore.
I used a lot of the tools here before I deleted Twitter, but they are becoming more useful and more prominent on screen time accounts without Twitter. (And no, deleting Twitter didn’t reduce screen time, unfortunately.) Some of it might be obvious and some of it might be new to you, but that’s what I do to keep up with both general news and topics I need. m specifically interested.
Apple News: For some breaking news and long magazine articles
The Apple News app has been around for years on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, but it hasn’t really taken much credit for how good it is for those of us who consume a lot of long-form articles. It’s far from perfect, and yes, even if you pay $9.99 a month (or combine it with the Apple One plan) to subscribe to News Plus, there are still ads in the articles (though I’m not sure how different that is from buying a magazine from a newsstand ?
However, Apple News provides me with top event headlines from around the world every time I open it as well as curated picks based on my reading history and my chosen topics. It also provides push notifications from posts I follow and integrates sports scores and reports of teams I’m interested in.
But the best part about Apple News is that it gives me access to long articles from The Atlantic, New Yorker, New York magazineAnd the And many others for a flat fee with my News Plus subscription. No other service I’ve been able to find provides me with so much long-form content for such a relatively low price. I used to rely on my Twitter feed to populate my Pocket queue full of things to read later, but Apple News provides me with a lot more of that now.
Google News app: For local news and vlogs
Besides Apple News, Google News provides a curated list of news articles based on my interests each time I open them. Compared to Apple’s offerings, Google News relies more on short pieces and is better at bringing me local updates, whether that’s upcoming weather, local politics, or restaurant events. It’s available on both iOS and Android and it’s free, so it’s easy to pick it up and start using it.
Google News isn’t perfect – it relies on Google’s website AMP format a lot and doesn’t do a great job of remembering my logins to paywalled sites – but it also provided a wealth of options for queuing to read later now that Twitter is gone .
Google provides a similar feed for articles in its Discover product, which is available to the right of your home screen on Android phones and in the Google app on iPhone. But it detects some kind of bad and gives terrible recommendations more often than good ones in my experience, so I generally go straight to Google News.
RSS Reader: For curated titles from websites you’re interested in
Believe it or not, RSS still exists and it still works great for following up on updates from different websites. I’ve used an RSS reader for longer than I’ve used Twitter, and it’s still one of the first apps I open every morning to get a sense of what’s going on on sites I’m interested in.
Setting up an RSS reader takes a little more work than using something like Apple News or Google News, but the bonus is that you input the sources specifically yourself, so you have a bit more control. I use Feedly to sync (free version, never forced to pay for it) which I connect to Reeder App on iOS/Mac And the FocusReader on Android. It’s set up with dozens of sources from most tech news sites but also some smaller blogs I’ve been following for years that are updated infrequently.
techmeme: For breaking news and discussions specifically in the tech industry
See, if you are reading this article on the edge, Perhaps you are somewhat interested in what is happening in the world of technology. techmeme I’ve been compiling headlines and tech news discussions for longer than I’ve been blogging, and it’s a convenient place to get a quick overview of everything that’s happening in space every day. I just visit the site in the browser on my phone.
the edge Dotcom: I swear we’re useful
Don’t wait, hear me out – if you don’t feel like going through the work of setting up those other sources and just want to scroll through feeds like you used to on Twitter, our website is pretty good for that. We redesigned it earlier this fall to incorporate shorter posts with links to things we find interesting online, including blogs, other articles, and social media posts. Our team has used it a lot, and we’re really excited about the plans we have to make it even better next year. And of course, we have plenty of original reports and long-form segments, as well as video and other stuff to read and watch instead of looking at Twitter.
Yes, I am biased. Yes, that’s a rude plug. But hell, you’re already here reading this article. You can also click around.
The last piece of this puzzle is a good read-later app, which I use to store and save articles from all of these sources as I check them out. I use Pocket, but Matter, Instagram, and others are good options. Reeder app on iOS and Mac has its own read later functionality, same as Safari and other browsers.
All in all, this process of using multiple sources is more work than scrolling through your Twitter feed every idle moment. But the rewards are worth it — you get full stories instead of questionably sourced snippets, and you don’t have to deal with the noise inherent in Twitter. And when you’re done checking the news and catching up on your read-later queue, you can touch the grass.
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